Excerpt from The Stranger in the Woods

This weekend was the launch of my new book Gem, Himself, Alone. If you haven’t checked it out, pop on over and have a look now.

If you like gritty crime, hard-hitting issues, and twisty suspense, you will like Gem! 

Alone on the street, Gem joins up with the Rippers gang to escape his old life, burying his past the best he can.

And now onto the Teaser!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme. Read the rules and more teasers at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along.

I have just started reading The Stranger in the Woods, by Michael Finkel, an account of a hermit who lived in the woods of Maine for almost three decades, surviving off of bold thefts from the camp and homes just a few minutes from his tent without discovery. It’s interesting to hear Finkel’s firsthand account of his interviews with Christopher Knight and the investigation into how he survived without any contact with humanity.

I couldn’t decide between these two quotes, so I decided to share both of them!

She asks Knight to claim what is his. “Everything is stolen,” he says. His backpack, his boots, his break-in tools, the entirety of his campsite, and all the clothes he is wearing, right down to his underwear. “The only thing I can honestly say is mine,” he states, “are my eyeglasses.”

Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods

“I said, ‘Hi,’” Knight replies. Other than that single syllable, he insists, he had not spoken with or touched another human being, until this evening, for twenty-seven years.

Michael Finkel, The Stranger in the Woods

In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death.

He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

Tell me what you think!

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Teenage Gem, alone on the street, has survived abuse, institutionalization, and captivity. He has lost everything and everyone he ever loved, but is finally free to build a life.

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Gem buries his past the best he can, joins up with the Rippers gang for protection, and does what he has to in order to survive.

But Riker, a vice cop, makes it his business to take away the precious freedom Gem has earned and put him behind bars.


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